How Chickens Count

When Annie Mae was very young
she counted on her toes.

She scratched her ciphers with a stick
in dirt in careful rows.

Her mother’s cockerel Chanticleer
would join her in her fun.

He’d hop about and crow a bit
when she wrote down a 1.

‘2, 3, 4, 5’ she counted on,
and then the other foot:

‘6 and 7, 8 and 9.’
Now what should she put?

‘1 set of toes, 0 extras left’
the rooster told a hen

and Annie Mae, who heard him, smiled
and wrote a great big 10.

‘It’s my turn now,’ the cockerel crowed.
They all looked at his feet.

‘Scratch it out,’ laughed Annie Mae,
‘We’ll read it if you’re neat.’

‘1’ he counted, ‘2 and 3.
I see I’m getting near

to 4. That ends my big left foot.
My right foot starts right here.

Here’s 5, and 6, and 7. Good
One toe to go. No! Wait!

Don’t tell the answer, Annie Mae.
Don’t grin like you just ate.

1 set of toes, 0 extras now – –
the same as you, my friend!’

Young Chanticleer was proud as punch
as he also wrote 10.

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